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Antiscience Beliefs Jeopardize U.S. Democracy

Shawn Lawrence Otto | Scientific American

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Nov 01, 2012

The United States faced down authoritarian governments on the left and right. Now it may be facing an even greater challenge from within

Dramatic Photos of Glacier National Park Then and Now

Congress debates climate change that images make plain

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Aug 03, 2012

Beyond these Orwellian arguments, for a true taste of problems inherent in this discussion tune in to the exchange that happened as Boxer brought the first portion of the hearing to a close.

Organizations List Top Science & Environmental Questions Obama, Romney Should Tackle

In an age of growing antiscience politics, fifteen US science and engineering organizations take a stand

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Jul 19, 2012

Fifteen of the top U.S. science and engineering organizations today released a list of the most important science policy questions that presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and Mitt Romney should be debating on the campaign trail.

The Vulnerable Heart of Machismo

Book Review: Cures for Hunger by Deni Béchard

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | May 16, 2012

A gripping, evocative memoir of the writer's childhood love for his criminal but all-too-human father

From the Heartland: schoolchildren, climate, and... mass murder?

Astounding lack of judgment reveals propaganda outfit's radicalization

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | May 04, 2012

The Heartland Institute is preparing a $100,000 school science curriculum on climate change coming to a school near you. Among their logical leaps is a new billboard featuring mass murderers and totalitarians who believe in climate change. This is science?

New Poll: Even religious voters overwhelmingly want candidates to debate science

Consensus among Protestants, Catholics for science debates, science-based policies; Twice as many think the US not spending enough on alternative energy as do defense

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Apr 03, 2012

It turns out that the presidential campaign staffers have it completely, one hundred and eighty degrees wrong when it comes to science. Overwhelming majorities of American voters want the candidates to debate the big science issues facing the country.

A Message from a Republican Meteorologist on Climate Change

Acknowledging Climate Science Doesn’t Make You A Liberal

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Mar 28, 2012

You can’t prove that any one of Barry Bonds' 762 home runs was sparked by alleged steroid use. But it did increase his “base state”, raising the overall odds of hitting a home run. You can’t point to any one weather extreme and say “that’s climate change”, but a warmer atmosphere increases the potential for historic spikes in temperature, and more frequent weather extremes.

Americans Deserve a Presidential Science Debate

In an age when the major US challenges revolve around science, we deserve candidates who will share their views on it

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Mar 19, 2012

America needs and deserves a president who can show that he or she understands the importance of basing public policy on the best available evidence, as the founders intended.

Academic Freedom Wins In Cuccinelli Climate Case

Supreme Court Tosses Virginia Attorney General's Attack on UVA and Michael Mann

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Mar 02, 2012

In a big win for academic freedom over the forces of creeping authoritarianism, the Virginia Supreme Court today sided with the University of Virginia in its fight against Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's investigation of former UVA climate scientist Michael Mann.

The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars

A book review of Michael Mann’s saga from the front lines

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Feb 27, 2012

What makes The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars an important addition is the thread of Mann’s evolution in thinking as he followed the simple logic of science where it led, something we want any graduate student to do, and as a result was increasingly forced to defend his work, himself, and ultimately the future of the planet. A harrowing ride through the politics of truth and denial.

They're Coming for Your Kids

Heartland Institute's Plan to Brainwash Children

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Feb 16, 2012

Secret documents reveal the corporate and fossil-fuel-funded Heartland Institute's plan to feed kids propaganda in their science classes

Climate Denial Bombshell UPDATED

Heartland Institute's Budget and Strategy Released Online

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Feb 14, 2012

Internal documents show organization's strategy, including a climate propaganda effort in K-12 schools by "providing curriculum that shows that the topic of climate change is controversial and uncertain - two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science."

Republicans Cut Top Science Office by 1/3

"Compromise" cut in Congress down from 55% in House bill

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Nov 16, 2011

White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) budget by a whopping 32 percent. The cuts "will have real consequences on OSTP's operations," said spokesperson Rick Weiss.

Rustlings From Republican Environmentalists

By guest blogger Barry Bickmore, a Republican geoscientist at Brigham Young University

By Guest Blogger | Nov 16, 2011

Let’s face it–it’s a bad year for Republican Environmentalists like me. About half of the field of Republican presidential candidates once promoted the idea of addressing climate change in some way, but all but Jon Huntsman have backed off this stance to one extent or another.

The UnAmerican War on Science

Today's antiscience politicians are not going to take America where we need to go

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Oct 27, 2011

America didn't keep the world safe for democracy by pandering to ideological dark agers - we got ahead by using hard-headed science. It's time we get back to it, and start putting America first again.

I knew Bachmann Would Double Down on Antiscience

The Minnesota Congresswoman will redefine reality to win an argument

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Sep 16, 2011

Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is doubling down on her antiscience attack against GOP presidential frontrunner Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Bachmann appeared to have scored points at the Tampa, FL Tea Party debate by attacking the Perry over an executive order requiring 6th grade girls to be immunized against human papillomavirus, a leading cause of cervical cancer, calling it "flat out wrong" to force girls to get a "government injection."

Bachmann, Perry in race to unreason

Two of the three leading GOP candidates for president increasingly appear to be unable to discern fact from fiction.

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Sep 15, 2011

The HPV flap is just the latest in a GOP flight into unreason. Bachmann and Perry frequently take policy positions that fly in the face of science.

Sunday Creationism Cartoon

Garry Trudeau has some fun with Louisiana's classroom creationism kookiness

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Jul 10, 2011

When the Louisiana state legislature adjourned on June 23, 2011, Senate Bill 70 — which would have repealed the antievolution law in effect in the state since 2008 — died in committee. The driving force behind the repeal effort was Baton Rouge high school senior Zack Kopplin, working with the Louisiana Coalition for Science.

We live in a day when students lead the charge for truth, while parents want to sacrifice their childrens' education to satisfy their political affiliation.

We are all children of Africa

Symphony of Science's new music video

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Jul 08, 2011

I usually hate the short cute video drivel you can find on youtube, and I try to stay away from it. That goes double for the new autotuned drivel. But once in a while somebody actually does a halfway decent job of it, and then somebody else like PZ Myers, who we all know has such cultured taste, goes and vets it for you, and you have to watch.

Don't Let Satan Fool You

Why Michele Bachmann's ideas about public education are bad for America

By Shawn Lawrence Otto | Jul 05, 2011

GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has made a career out of waging the values battle in the culture wars. A major part of that battle early on in Bachmann's career was the battle over teaching creationism in public school science classes. In fact, Bachmann got her start in politics on the board of a charter school that got in trouble for teaching biblical principles in class. She ran for school board as part of a group of religious conservatives that sought to take it over. She failed, but it was the last election she has lost. Today, the debate over "teching the controversy" has gone mainstream.